November 16, 2011

Rachel Strella

The Google Monster!

This morning, I spoke to a group of HACC students. The students were ambassadors for the campus and they help to lead the rest of student body.  It was an honor to talk to such a gifted group of individuals.

I decided to keep the presentation brief and focus on answering their specific social media questions.

There was one gentleman who was silent during the majority of the discussion. I later asked him about his thoughts and asked if he had any questions that I could answer.

After a long pause, he said he was concerned about his Google search result.  Earlier, I had revealed the numerous the applications I received for past positions with my company. Admittedly, I often Googled the name of the applicant to help me sift through the stack. If my search results revealed unfavorable activity, I tossed the resume.

(Interesting Side note: HACC is making this policy prohibited for future applicants to their campus).

He was concerned because his Google reputation was less-than- stellar and he asked how he could keep his resume from going straight to the trash.  This stigma was really frightening to him and rightly so.

I offered him two pieces of advice:

  1. If you really want to stand out, connect with someone! There are so many people competing for a job right now that it’s imperative to make a personal connection in order to be noticed – regardless of you Google reputation. I recommend finding a connection on LinkedIn that can introduce you to the potential employer and make a positive first impression once that connection is made. Speaking for myself, if I receive a sincere message from someone that’s interested in working with me, I would sort through my stack of resumes,  find the person who applied,  and move that resume from the ‘trash’ to the ‘keep’ bin.
  2. Google likes fresh content. Start playing their game and set-up a Google+ profile, get a WordPress blog, establish a LinkedIn profile or set-up Facebook fan page…and start publishing! The fresher the content, the higher it will rank.  The more content, the better.  Eventually, what’s at the top of the Google search, will start moving closer to the bottom and hopefully even to the second page (where most people don’t venture). Just keep publishing and start monitoring your activity. Remember to set up Google alerts so you can be notified anytime you hit the search engine.

Having a poor online presence is unfortunate, but it doesn’t have to be death sentence. Just think outside the box and work hard to build a positive reputation.

What other ways can you enhance your online image?

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2 comments on “The Google Monster!”

  1. Rachel, this is excellent advice for college students! My oldest daughter is a junior in college. I googled her name after reading this article, just to check and all looks fine 🙂 , but I'm forwarding this article to her because you've given students some great tips on how to build a positive online reputation!
    Thanks for the information!

    1. Thank you, Terry! I am so glad you found it helpful! It never hurts to Google your name and see what's out there - especially when you are applying for a job!!


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